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A Plate Close to Our Hearts

Colorado has 218 license plate designs. Most of them benefit a cause or an organization. In order to get one of these plates, you first have to register your car in Colorado, and then make a donation to the cause you want to support.

One of the plates that is close to the hearts here in Estes Park is the Rocky Mountain National Park plate. This plate is currently the ninth most popular plate in the state with more than 12,000 folks promoting Rocky on their cars.

In order to get this popular plate, a $30 donation goes directly to the Rocky Mountain Nature Conservancy. 100% of this donation goes to the Conservancy’s High School Leadership Corps. 

This unique program provides high school students with an immersive experience in Rocky Mountain National Park. The students participate in service-learning projects, development opportunities, and educational programming.

The Conservancy hopes this experience will advance the understanding of the natural world, promote professional growth, and foster civic engagement in the next generation of public land stewards.

Changing Colors

Scientists believe receptors in the retina of the ptarmigan, snowshoe hare, and weasel send signals to the brain when the days grow shorter in the fall telling them to reduce pigment in their fur and feathers.

It’s called photoperiod and helps the ptarmigan and hare to hide from predators like hawks (and weasels) and allows the weasel to hide from their prey like mice, hare, and ptarmigan.

Just as the mountain lion can take down prey much larger than itself, so too can the weasel. The short-tailed weasel is the only species known as the ermine in its white winter coat. Climate change and lack of snow may adversely affect these animals as their natural physiology could be altered.


The massive electrical transmission towers found along US Hwy 36 and Prospect Mountain are part of the Big Thompson Water Project. They are transmitting electricity out of Estes Park produced by six separate hydro-powered turbine plants. 

This is clean energy to help with peak load in the western United States.

The Flow of Water

Water and water rights are an important part of Colorado. The need to somehow get water from the mountains to the Great Plains became apparent as early as the late 1880s.

The Big Thompson Water Project is a federal water diversion project designed to send water from the headwaters of the Colorado River to the Front Range and beyond.

Between 1938 and 1949 the Bureau of Reclamation built the Alva B. Adams tunnel 13 miles long under Rocky Mountain National Park. 

The tunnel allows water to flow freely almost 1,000ft in elevation from Grand Lake to Mary’s Lake in Estes Park and then down 2,000ft more through more tunnels to 14 cities and over a million people on the eastern front range.

Before the mighty Colorado River flows even 20 miles, part of it is diverted east.

This is just a part of the allocation for the Colorado River. More water is distributed from the Colorado River’s 250,000-square-mile basin than from any other river basin in the world. 

Every drop of water in the river is fully allocated.   


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